What Else Could Go Right?

In just three days, I’ll be leaving for a Compassion tour in Nicaragua.

It’s a trip I’ve been hoping to take since first becoming a sponsor through Compassion four years ago, but the weeks leading up to this trip haven’t gone exactly as I had envisioned them.

In that vision, I would have set aside more time to read my Bible, some inspirational faith books and maybe some other sponsors’ blogs about their own trips. I would have spent more time in prayer preparing my heart and mind for the trip ahead. I would have begun writing in my trip journal already. I would have gone into this trip feeling mentally and spiritually prepared for the days ahead.

Instead, the past four weeks have been an exhausting string of medical issues in our family.

First, my youngest son needed to have a tooth pulled. Everything went well, and he bounced back quickly after a day of everyone smothering him in love at home.

Then three days later, my daughter had surgery on both legs to correct a toe-walking issue. She came home in two casts, to be worn for almost five weeks, but her surgeon assured us she would be up and walking in those casts within a few days. That was hard to imagine in those first few days, as it was painful for her to bear any weight at first, but about five days after surgery, she began making short walks around the house. She’s still sore and can’t be on her feet for too long, but she’s healing and getting around now.

The following week, my sister had surgery to remove a large tumor. The two weeks leading up to this unexpected surgery were filled with anxiety and concern that the tumor would require radiation or chemotherapy treatments after removal. But we were all thrilled when the entire tumor was removed, and testing indicated no further treatment would be necessary other than annual monitoring to check for regrowth.

Not even one week later, my husband had knee surgery to fix an old skiing injury. That procedure also went well, and he is slowly healing and getting back to normal.

Finally, just last week, my youngest son had an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist. His regular pediatrician heard a heart murmur during his annual physical this summer, and referred him for a follow-up. At the time, he assured me that children often grow out of heart murmurs, but he felt it best that my son be seen for it. So I took him in expecting to be told the murmur was nothing to worry about.

Instead, my son was diagnosed with a heart condition that eventually will require valve replacement surgery. In the meantime, he will see a cardiologist annually, for life, to monitor the condition. He’s four years old.

There was a time when news like this would have had me asking, “What else could go wrong?” There was a time I would have been shouting that question, especially following the previous three weeks of medical ups and downs.

Thankfully, God has given me a different response this month. I am feeling blessed beyond words, and here’s why:

I live in a place and time where all of the medical issues of the past month are manageable. Having a tooth pulled is better than dying of infection. Surgery to correct a walking issue will save my daughter from future complications with her legs and feet. My sister is cancer-free due to great screening and medical care. My husband will ski again this winter with our children, rather than sit on the sidelines. And by the time my son needs surgery on his heart, procedures and techniques likely will have improved to the point that the surgery is even more safe than it is today.

So although I haven’t had the peaceful, meditation-like preparation I was imagining before this trip, and although I still feel a bit frazzled by the month’s events, I will step on that airplane Thursday ready for the next adventure. I am ready to see what God has in store for me, and I look forward to finding the answers to, “What else could go right?”

Nicaragua Countdown: Four Weeks!

After months of counting down the days until my son and I leave for Nicaragua, today we find ourselves with exactly four weeks to go.

Excited doesn’t begin to describe how we are feeling about this upcoming trip. 

Medically, we are ready. Yesterday we started taking the typhoid vaccine, which comes in capsules. We also have a prescription for malaria to take while we are in Nicaragua. And I was lucky enough to require a Hepatitis A shot as well, which I got last month. Aidan got to skip that as he’d already had the vaccine.

Logistically, we are ready. We have begun to organize and pack the gifts we are bringing to our children, and are planning out what to take for ourselves. Our plane tickets have been purchased, and the airlines have already canceled some of our flights, so those have been rescheduled. Hopefully that won’t happen again. We got our passports months ago, so we are all set to travel.

Mentally, though, I’m not sure if we are quite so prepared, but that’s all right, because I don’t think this is the kind of experience that allows for complete preparation.

Sure, I’ve spent hours reading other sponsors’ blogs detailing their own visits to their Compassion children in countries all over the world. I know the general order of these trips: visiting the country office, visiting some projects, then visiting my own children.

My son and I are even practicing some Spanish phrases relating to soccer so we can play more easily with our boys on visit day.

But I sense in this trip something bigger than I can imagine right now, as if there is some grand experience on the horizon, and I’m peering ahead, trying to see it, but it’s a little fuzzy right now. I guess it will be more clear in four weeks.

For now, I’ll focus on preparing my heart for meeting three special boys in Nicaragua, while sharing the whole experience with my own very special boy.







Last Progress Reports for the Year

This past week, I received the final four World Vision progress reports I was expecting. It’s great to see how these children have grown since last year, and to get a glimpse of them in their communities in Romania.


Dragos, 14, is my oldest child with World Vision. He is in seventh grade, and says he wants to be a policeman when he grows up. His family has received beehives and beekeeping materials from World Vision.


Andrei is 13 years old and in seventh grade. He writes that he works in the garden with his family, and he has participated in information sessions on health issues and children’s club educational activities through World Vision.


Daniel, 14, is in seventh grade and wants to be a football player when he grows up. He has participated in religious celebrations, like Easter and Christmas, and also extracurricular activities through World Vision.


Cristian, 5, is the first child I sponsored through World Vision in October 2012. He is in Kindergarten and likes to listen to music with his family. He has participated in information sessions on health issues this year, as well as school/kindergarten competitions.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child through World Vision, please click here.